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St. Johnland Nursing Center

CBS News personality Steve Overmyer visited the St. Johnland campus recently to get residents reactions to Virtual Reality. Several residents volunteered to demo VR headsets provided by MyndVR and experienced adventures, travel, music and other virtual activities. The residents, ranging in age from the early 80s and into their 90s were able to visit Amsterdam & Paris, watch the opening scene of Lion King, catch butterflies in a net and even sky-dive!

“I always wanted to go the Europe, but it was never possible” said resident Paul Reuther who visited Amsterdam, “It feels like I’m right there. You are seeing all the sights and all the people.” Ronni Izzo, Rita Sandalena and Bill Moran joined Paul on various adventures including skydiving and going to Broadway. Just seeing the smile on their faces was proof that this new technology may someday be used in senior care facilities worldwide.

Pictured from left, Therapist Katelyn Paige; Pathways Stroke Foundation President Jean Marie Gibbs; Rehab Director Dana Stein; and St. Johnland Nursing Center Administrator Nicolas Destinville. Photo from St. Johnland

St. Johnland Nursing Facility in Kings Park recently welcomed Pathways Stroke Foundation’s President Jean Marie Gibbs as she donated five new iPads as well as laptops to its Head Injury Rehabilitation Unit. The iPads will help facilitate much needed continued therapies throughout the day as well as providing patient-family communication.

Pathways Stroke Foundation was founded after Gibbs’s mother Agnes suffered a debilitating stroke in 2012. Her speech area was greatly affected leaving her with Aphasia and Apraxia. She had lost mobility of her right arm, limited mobility of her right leg as well as visual blockages. 

Agnes’s rehabilitation at St. Johnland Head Injury Rehabilitation Unit (HIRU), consisted of almost three months of physical, speech and occupational therapy with her family at her side every step of the way. Due to Agnes’s severe speech deficit, it was crucial to find ways to communicate and recover to the best of her ability. 

“The iPad was an instrumental tool in recovery of her stroke” said Gibbs.  “Aggressive therapy is needed when learning to speak, walk and move again. Having the technology available to mom provided an outlet for her to continue her therapy throughout the day. With the many applications that are designed specifically for speaking, reading, writing as well as motor function, it gave mom independence to choose which apps worked best for her. Most importantly the iPad provided 24 hour support via FaceTime to keep in touch with family and friends especially when she was feeling afraid or lonely.” 

Life had changed in a moment for Agnes, and each day was a path to recovery. “We stayed with mom from early morning to late evening providing the emotional and physical support so desperately needed during recovery.” says Jean Marie Gibbs. “However, there were many survivors in HIRU that did not have the same family support or the financial ability to own an iPad. I wanted to be an advocate for those in HIRU that felt there was no hope. Pathways Stroke Foundation has been the vehicle needed to provide the technology through our fundraising efforts.”

Members of Splashes of Hope, from left, James Knapp, Ann Marie Chang, Sandy Caracciolo, Heather Buggee, Ethan Chang, Grace Barrett and Tom Chang in front of the new mural at St. Johnland Nursing Center in Kings Park. Photo from St. Johnland

St. Johnland Nursing Center of Kings Park recently welcomed Splashes of Hope Ambassador Ethan Chang and a team of artists who created a colorful and uplifting mural on the wall of the Head Injury Rehabilitation Unit (HIRU) gym at the Center. The gym is used for both short-term rehab patients and long term residents for physical, speech and occupational therapy. 

Splashes of Hope created a 21’ x 38’ mural of a beach scene reminiscent of the Kings Park bluff, located a short distance from the facility. Inspirational quotes offer a vibrant reminder to keep working towards recovery. 

“Our custom-designed artwork is designed to comfort patients during treatment, healing and recovery by providing a soothing and uplifting visual focus. Each mural is designed to address the unique needs of the patients, their family and the staff that cares for them” said Splashes of Hope CEO Heather Buggee.

“Our holistic approach to compassionate care is a goal at St. Johnland and the mural offers inspiration to our patients and residents as they attempt the often grueling demands of therapy,” said Mary Jean Weber, CEO of St. Johnland, “We hope the art inspires them in their journey to achieve optimum results.”

Photo from St. Johnland Nursing Center

The Townwide Fund of Huntington recently gifted a new Accushield Health Screening kiosk to St. Johnland Nursing Center of Kings Park. CEO Mary Jean Weber welcomed Townwide Fund President-Elect Greg Kennedy, Executive Director Alice Marie Rorke, Grants Chair Janice Whelan and Board Member Jim Powers at the installation and dedication of the kiosk in the lobby of the nursing center on Jan. 20.

Pictured are StJohnland Nursing Center CEO MaryJean Weber, Administrator Nicolas Destinville and Director of Development Trish Rongo with TWF President-Elect Greg Kennedy, Board Members Janice Whelan and Jim Powers with Executive Director Alice Marie Rorke.

Funded by a grant from the Townwide Fund, the Accushield kiosk will automatically scan staff and visitors for a temperature check and ask a series of health questions that will allow for improved safety measures and contact tracing should it be needed. “Resident and staff safety are a priority at St. Johnland, and the gift of this invaluable piece of equipment allows us a streamlined system for tracking visitors and staff,” said Weber.